WOMEN OF COLOR AND RELATIONSHIPS-A SPECIAL SISTERHOOD SESSION

Power Of Women ‘Sisterhood Sessions’ | Life Lessons Learned: Special Session-Relationships Between Men And Women Of Color

What I’ve Learned

Dating Men Of Color:

“Men Of Color aren’t as valued in our society as their counterparts or other ethnic groups. I didn’t know that when I was young and dating.”

Interracial Dating:

“I enjoyed it.” Ultimately, “The chemistry wasn’t there.”

~Connie Green-Johnson, North Carolina- Sisterhood Share Club Contributor

Relationships Between Men And Women Of Color

Connie Green-Johnson sits down for a Sisterhood Session to have a candid conversation about relationships between men and women of color. She shares her life lessons learned with a special message for ‘Women Of Color’, and how to treat ‘Men Of Color’  in a way that makes them feel valued.

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Careless Communication

First Relationship

Connie talked about her relationships over the years. She recounts an epiphany she had regarding careless communication with her first relationship, an African-American boyfriend she dated during College. She realized over the course of the relationship that when she “Demanded certain behaviors” from him, “He took it a different way” from which she intended.

As a young Woman Of Color, Connie wasn’t aware of just how to relay what she needed from her man in a way that didn’t offend certain sensibilities heightened in some Men Of Color. She attributed these sensitivities as a result of what she came to understand and interpret as not being “Valued”. She asserted, “Men Of Color aren’t valued in our society as their counterparts or other ethnic groups. I didn’t know that when I was young and dating.”

In that regard, she was ill-equipped in communicating with her Black Man in a way that exuded love and support. Connie admitted, I did not know how to make him feel like a man when I was giving my request as to how I wanted to be treated.” Her limited experience in relationships did not prepare her for the nuances of dating Men Of Color and how to combat or compete against years of societal persecution embedded in their psyche, or what she contends as not being ‘Valued’.

Continued instances of miscommunication put a strain on the relationship and they eventually parted ways but remained friends.

Connie goes on to talk about her marriages, of which there were three, and her brief experience with interracial dating.

The Journey To Love And Happiness

First Marriage

Connie met her “First love” also her first of three marriages, right out of college. According to Connie’s account of the initial encounter, it was pretty much love at first sight. She described the encounter to her Godmother stating, “I knew when I met him I was going to marry him.” She went on to explain to her, “I can’t even breathe when I’m around him.” Well, that certainly sounds like one of the classic unexplainable symptoms of love. Ultimately her life lessons taught her that being so overwhelmed by someone, wasn’t necessarily a good thing, as “I lost all reasoning”, she admits.

Emotional attachments were evident as Connie talked more about her first marriage and first love. She confessed, “Even today, that is the love of my life. I will probably never stop loving him.” Even so, the marriage Connie states “Was not working and would not work.” The reason she offers,  “I felt inadequate”, and he thought he should date as many women as possible.” As much as she loved him, Connie contends “I wasn’t having that.”

While Connie’s first marriage did not work out, she’s grateful, “I have one of the best gifts I could ever have”, referring to a result of the union. “That’s my oldest daughter” she confirms as a swell of emotion takes over her composure.  As she reluctantly reminisced about her daughter,  she struggled for a moment to regain composure and continue the session.

Second Marriage

Connie talks about her life lessons learned in her second marriage. As with the first marriage, she shares that one of the best things that came from the union was her second child. Connie admitted, “I like bright men”, or intelligent men as it were. While her second husband was certainly her intellectual equal, that compatibility quotient alone was not enough to sustain the relationship. She admits, “There wasn’t enough love on my part.” Connie realized, “As a result of that, he found love someplace else, and I don’t believe in sharing.”

It was clear in her conversation regarding women of color and relationships, that Connie does not condone compromising marriage vowels. As such, infidelity was the ultimate end of both her first and second marriage.

Third Marriage The Jewel

As Connie begins to wrap up her Sisterhood Session, she shares lessons of her third marriage, “The Jewel” of her relationships as she defines it. By this time, Connie had experience under her belt in communicating with men and learned more about what she wanted, and most importantly, how to “Let a man be a man”. She spoke fondly about the man and husband he was. He was a provider. With a provider, her relationship experience and newfound understanding in communicating with Men Of Color, it allowed her to give herself permission to let him take care of her.

Allowing someone to take care of you is something Connie acknowledges is particularly hard for Women Of Color. She says, as Women Of Color, “We are taught to survive, and that we have to be the strong one.” Breaking away from the cultural norms expected from Women Of Color, that she believes “Takes away some of the femininity of who we are as women”, gave her the freedom to enjoy her relationship with a Man Of Color.

Connie reminisced about her third husband and their time together and their extensive travels to several countries throughout the marriage. It was clear, their travels were just some of many good times in the couple’s marriage. In memory of her third husband and last marriage to date, she says of their overall time together,  “It was 12 years of just a wonderful, wonderful journey of two people that mutually respected and loved one another.”

This blissful union ended upon his passing.

Interracial Dating

Brief Encounter

In conclusion, Connie answered the question, if she dates outside her race? She responded she was certainly open to interracial dating. Connie confirmed there was a brief encounter or timeline, where she dated outside her race. She admitted, “I enjoyed it”, referring to the experience of connecting with another culture in an intimate relationship. While she enjoyed opening up her social space for adventures outside her culture, she ultimately concluded when it came to dating men outside her race, “The chemistry wasn’t there” for her. She continues to enjoy male friendships from all cultural backgrounds.

Women Of Color | Interracial Dating
Interracial Dating

Life Lessons Learned

Conscious Communication And Departure From Cultural Norms

Connie shared her final analysis in her special message for Women Of Color and relationships. She talked about the importance of having what Sisterhood dubbs, Conscious Communication versus Careless Communication with Men Of Color or your partner. Connie advised simply, that her takeaway when it comes to dating Men Of Color, “Make him feel like a man”. How is that accomplished? She believes, “You really have to stroke their ego.” In addition,  make a departure from cultural norms. “Ask for help” when you need it. Connie smiles as she confesses, “You’ll be surprised at what you get at the end, of them being men”.

With regard to relationships in general, Connie recommends that women “Be approachable” and “Just say yes” to new experiences. If he is not historically your type, give him a chance anyway. She contends, “A lesson learned on my journey is that part of living is a classroom. You learn from the bad and the good.” And, when it comes to love, she appreciates that “There’s nothing on this earth like it.” She ends the session on a playful note by wishing women “Happy hunting” in finding a man to spend time with and just have fun in life.

~Connie Green-Johnson, North Carolina-Sisterhood Share Club   Contributor/Contributing Member. Interview Date, June 3, 2019.

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